What kind of guy goes to another man’s riverbed tent to pick up his ex-girlfriend? King ‘Hide Your Carols’ Ezekiel, the ex always on the prowl for tragedy to strike before sending a 2 am feel out text.
This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 11 (“Morning Star”).
No scruples. Ezekiel is the type of guy to test waters by liking a girl’s Facebook photos 24/7 before texting ‘HYD?’ right after she has a fight with her boyfriend. Always queued in the shadows, waiting to pounce like his tiger Shiva before him at the right moment. Grinning from ear-to-ear in anticipation of hearing something has gone wrong, so he can make a move to ‘comfort.’ Why Daryl Dixon was reduced to being ‘the bigger person’ and telling Ezekiel, ‘he’s always respected what he’s been through’, post-coitus with Carol was just strange. It’s okay to be angry sometimes or even hold grudges like Daryl once did at Rick’s decision to spare Negan.
It didn’t feel realistic. Can you imagine Jessie Anderson getting back with Pete Anderson (had he lived) and Rick Grimes exchanging pleasantries? How about Lori sleeping with Shane again? Would Rick tell Shane how he’s always respected him right after the act? What is this ‘The Bold and The Beautiful‘ or one of the most savagely brutal shows in the history of television?
Why does Daryl have to ‘respect’ Ezekiel after he sleeps with the person Daryl presumably loves and seems to want a relationship with? There was no Governor type psychology/larger plan to be found in the scene… Really, you felt sorry that things have come to this. How would Season 1-2 rebellious Daryl Dixon look at Season 10 Daryl Dixon? Daryl seemed to be a Morgan-like clone on “Morning Star”, just happy to see everyone else be happy. Even at his own expense. Judith stitched together a new wing for Daryl’s vest on tonight’s episode… But he might as well have been completely de-feathered and wingless after that Ezekiel conversation.
There’s a range of pieces that don’t add up as of late on TWD, like why Negan didn’t just take out Alpha right then and there in the Season 10B Premiere, for example. Negan, the man who choked Simon to death with his barehands to finish a pure Rome-Gladiatorial style fistfight… Suddenly, can’t take out a vulnerable, unarmed naked Alpha and decides to sleep with her seemingly out of fear. In fact, recently Negan seems practically subservient, larger scheme in mind or not. Do you remember what Negan whispered to Rick Grimes after his first visit to Alexandria as a parting shot? Now the man is letting Alpha literally mutilate his wrists with a stick.
Eugene opting for a long distance relationship when he finally made Rosita jealous enough to want a kiss. Forgoing the opportunity so he can keep talking to a person he’s never actually met by radio. Literally after working to obtain Rosita’s affections for countless seasons. It just took almost all other competition to ‘drop out’ for Eugene to get a chance, true love right there. Now the peak has arrived, Daryl complimenting Ezekiel after he sleeps with Carol. Maybe it’s time TWD moved away from the ‘ships for a while and went back to basics.
Be sure to read Daryl and Ezekiel’s talk felt like a stiff handshake from a girl’s boyfriend and more TWD Season 10 coverage in The Walking Dead category section on The Natural Aristocrat.
Negan and Daryl’s standoff felt like a lost treasure from Season 7’s glory days washing up onshore. Delightfully unpredictable.
This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 14 (“Look at the Flowers”).
Picture Negan caught in a tug of war between the sweet nectarine taste of freedom and signature bureaucracy of morality. Going from accused captive on his final march to the gallows to bestowed the title of Alpha. Rope removed from neck, a sudden insurrection switching his presumptive executioner on trial instead. Whisperers kneeling like The Saviors of yore before the might of Lucille’s bearer. An opportunity to rebuild TWD’s great antiquity from the ground up. Breathing new life into Sanctuary by pumping its heart full of fresh residents.
Negan confesses to relishing his lengthy, unauthorized parole granted by one Carol Peletier. A tongue defending against a sword will always be a flimsy substitute for another sword. Now, that Negan owns the calvary, denial is no longer necessary. Denial is for the weak. Should Negan surrender his leverage, all that awaits him are voting tribunals and paperwork. His chief recommendation: Gone a-wall. Evidence of his valor: Missing-in-action. There will be eyes judging his every movement as intrinsically vile even with proof of improved character.
Negan can reach for the key dangling in front of his ‘barred’ memories right at that second and reclaim his crown. Freedom swings back and forth in front of his eyes, a clock’s pendulum. Fully bejeweled, Easy Street. Daryl kneels in silence as the moonlight dances over his tattered vest’s wings. Live or die. Full circle, transported right back to the scene of the ‘crime’ where he took a swing at the leather jacketed one. Danger permeates the air, the will of Lucille. For the first time in a long while on The Walking Dead, true unpredictability reigns again.
Negan asks one of his newly recruited Whisperer henchman why he’s holding the ‘badass shotgun’ instead of the Alpha… Once the handoff is complete, it’s clear Season 7 Negan’s spirit reemerged only temporarily. Negan and Daryl team up to vanquish the Alpha followers with relative ease. What could have been one of the show’s greatest comebacks has the brakes put to it, instead of thriving ala The Governor’s return to the prison. Negan preemptively abandons a newly formed reclamation army in favor of civilized red tape back at Alexandria.
A narrative fit for an entire future season: Negan rebuilding the Saviors through his Whisperer influence is put to rest before it started. No internal war between Negan and Beta establishing a Negan/Simon redux-like reverie. The bigger picture. Thus, a lead episode highlight is only held back by not keeping Negan’s original spirit alive for at least a couple more chapters.Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 14 – Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
“Look at the Flowers” firmly establishes that although Negan is capable of heroic deeds, he’s absolute dynamite as a ‘bad guy’. Being a ‘good guy’ comes with rules and regulations… Negan shines consistently in the absence of both. Leave the iron anchor behind and let the man be as bad as he wants to be. ‘That is the
look Negan I wanted to see!’
All that being said, the scene is one of the high points of Season 10. Capturing the magic elixir formula that made Negan such a force to be reckoned with in the first place. Uncertainty.
Be sure to read The Walking Dead #TBT: Negan asks Daryl ‘Who are you?’
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More TWD Season 10 coverage is available on The Natural Aristocrat’s The Walking Dead category section.
Michael Rooker ‘pestering’ his cousin Georgie about her lack of “Butterbeans and Cornbread” readiness on Ride with Norman Reedus’ Season 4 Premiere is worthy of its own reality show spinoff.
Michael Rooker’s visit back to his hometown of Jasper, Alabama on Ride with Norman Reedus‘ Season 4 Premiere ended up being the breakout highlight of the episode. It was richly authentic, like a page out of a biography. The duo of Rooker and his cousin Georgie made for natural comedy that’s created through years of bonding, rather than typed in a script lab. No writer’s room, no partially scripted feeling, as is often the case in reality shows these days. From the moment Rooker said, “Give me a hug, woman!” and neighbors commented on Merle being in that “Walking Dead mess” you knew you were in for a fun time.
From Rooker teasing George about not making any “Butterbeans and Cornbread” per his arrival and her doll-filled house… To Georgie revealing her ignored texts to Norman Reedus as a type of arbiter. “He would have had Butterbeans and Cornbread if he’d answered my texts! Look at all these texts Norman!” Reedus supported Georgie’s case only to have Rooker respond, “I don’t reply to texts.” Case closed. Gavel down.
Georgie would try to get some photos in as Rooker commented, “We’re busy people, woman!” but posed for a few while making Merle-esque comments. The entire segment felt like a home movie. As if a live stream was setup to capture one day in the life of Rooker interacting with his family. Rooker’s teasing continued later in the episode even when cousin Georgie was off-screen. The Dixon brothers visit a haunted chicken farm and when they walk into a room filled with dolls, Rooker remarks, “We’re back at my cousin’s house!”
The whole ride back to The Walking Dead’s home in Senoia, Georgia concludes with Merle finally getting his ‘hand’ back at Nic and Norman’s! TWD Director and special effects extraordinaire Greg Nicotero does the honors of returning Merle’s prized possession. In Reedus’ words “I don’t trust Rooker having three hands!” If you’re a fan of the early seasons of The Walking Dead and the Dixon brothers, tonight’s Ride with Norman Reedus Season 4 Premiere is not to be missed.
Ride with Norman Reedus airs at 12:10 am ET/ 2:16 am PT on AMC after Talking Dead and tonight’s TWD replay.
Be sure to read The Walking Dead Season 10B: Examining Carol’s Claustrophobia and Lost Affection: Carol Peletier’s past destroying her future (Poem) on The Natural Aristocrat! All Walking Dead Season 10 coverage can be found in The Walking Dead category section.
Negan referred to Beta as “clearly a Goose Stepper” on The Walking Dead’s Season 10B Premiere. Let’s examine the deeper meaning of Negan’s commentary on The Whisperers. Author George Orwell once commented on the ‘Goose Step’ as “only possible in countries where the common people dare not laugh at the army.”
This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10B Premiere (“Squeeze”).
Negan attempted to earn Alpha’s trust on last night’s TWD by informing her of a traitor in the flock spreading her wings without permission. However, the slick haired, leather jacketed one was quick to point the finger away from Alpha’s second-in-command, Beta, in the blame game. Negan vouched for the skyscraper-esque giant’s innocence, commenting, “And no, I’m not talking about Frankenstein’s hemorrhoid. The big dude is clearly a Goose Stepper.” Thus, presenting Beta as someone who toes the line and upkeeps the status quo, so-to-speak. So, just what is a “Goose Stepper” you might ask?
Anyone familiar with World War II should immediately visualize the prominent marching step, military parade formation that has become inseparable from its popularized use during the era. The ‘Goose Step’ involves troops swinging their legs upward straight vertically in unison while marching. It’s meant to show a totalitarian form of discipline and evoke silent intimidation to spectators.
George Orwell’s 1941 wartime essay The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius available online via The Orwell Foundation, referenced the ‘Goose Step’ as “expressing a certain philosophy of life,” a “vision of a boot crashing down on a face.”
“One rapid but fairly sure guide to the social atmosphere of a country is the parade-step of its army. A military parade is really a kind of ritual dance, something like a ballet, expressing a certain philosophy of life.
The goose-step, for instance, is one of the most horrible sights in the world, far more terrifying than a dive-bomber. It is simply an affirmation of naked power; contained in it, quite consciously and intentionally, is the vision of a boot crashing down on a face.”
Gamma herself has spoken of Alpha’s way of making you forget the past for the needs of the pack. There is no opposition on The Whisperers without retribution from Beta or Alpha. Consequences are always on display in front of others to warn them from falling out of their ‘Goose Step’ formation. A type of forest-based public square, post-apocalyptic, stocks and pillory. The Whisperers’ masks cover their humanity by taking away individual expression, while they march with death personified in unity.
In George Orwell’s ‘England Your England, he mentions the ‘Goose Step’ only being possible “in countries where the common people dare not laugh at the army.” It’s assured there are no Whisperers openly joking about the will of Alpha, who rules by the sword. Whisperers fear being turned-in by their fellow party members for speaking out of turn.
“Beyond a certain point, military display is only possible in countries where the common people dare not laugh at the army.”
Controlling The Whisperers
According to a Digital Journal article on a study called ‘How to control your herd of humans‘ originally published in Volume 201, Issue 2694 of New Scientist, Scott Wiltermuth of Stanford University in California and colleagues have found that activities performed in unison, such as marching or dancing, increase loyalty to the group.
“It makes us feel as though we’re part of a larger entity, so we see the group’s welfare as being as important as our own.”
There is certainly a mental psyche aspect to Alpha’s relentless micromanagement of The Whisperers. Forsaking one’s individual expression for the larger group’s supposed ‘welfare.’ Recall, Alpha telling Gamma’s sister Frances to place her crying baby down in the field… Against her wishes. Accordingly, it can be argued that The Whisperers’ act of marching together while masked with the faces of those who’ve perished, is not just a survival tactic… But a loyalty exercise. A test to to identify who will conform to The Whisperers’ rigid party line, and who will fall out of it.
Be sure to read TWD: Lydia’s mistreatment proves Second Chances are Fashion Statements and The Walking Dead #TBT: Negan asks Daryl ‘Who are you?’ on The Natural Aristocrat.
More Walking Dead Season 10 coverage is available in The Walking Dead category section!